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Keynote Speaker

 Gary S. Kleppel '73, Ph.D.

Professor of Biological Sciences

Director of Biodiversity, Conservation & Policy Program


University of Albany

Dr. Kleppel is professor of Biology and, since 2000, director of the graduate program in Biodiversity Conservation and Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY. He earned his PhD in Biology (marine ecology) from Fordham University in 1979 and conducted his postdoctoral work in oceanography at the University of Southern California. Kleppel’s research on the ocean’s food webs spanned nearly two decades. Then, in 1994, he was appointed chief scientist for NOAA’s Land-Use Coastal Ecosystem Study, which sought to understand how suburban development in the Southeast would affect the region’s coastal ecosystems. That study led Kleppel to focus more fully on land use and eventually to turn his attention toward his current interests, sustainable agriculture and the ecology of human-dominated landscapes.

For the past decade, Dr. Kleppel and his wife have operated a small farm, Longfield, about 15 miles west of Albany. They produce grass-fed lamb, wool, free range poultry and eggs, and artisan breads. The Kleppels focus on sustainable methods of food and fiber production. Energy is provided by photovoltaics, pastures are managed to enhance soil health and biodiversity, livestock are treated humanely and in a manner that does not degrade the ecological integrity of the landscape.

Dr. Kleppel is author of nearly 100 papers, books and technical reports. His forthcoming volume, The Emergent Agriculture- Farming, Sustainability and the Return of the Local Economy, describes the emerging paradigm in food production and its environmental and economic impacts. It will be published by New Society Publishers in the summer of 2014.